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Gravity Probe B

Testing Einstein's Universe

Special & General Relativity Questions and Answers

If gravity is a distortion in space-time, why do we call it a force?

Because it produces an acceleration just like other forces do by definition. In general relativity, space-time is the 'field' which defines how strong gravitational forces will be, just as the electromagnetic field defines how strong electric and magnetic forces will be. We are embedded in the gravitational field just as an electron is embedded in the electromagnetic field.

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All answers are provided by Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the NASA Astronomy Cafe, part of the NASA Education and Public Outreach program.